U.S., Mexico, Guatemala advance to regional finals
Posted: Thursday October 14, 2004 12:39AM; Updated: Thursday October 14, 2004 12:39AM
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The United States and Mexico, opponents in the second round of the last World Cup in South Korea, both advanced to the final round of CONCACAF qualifying on Wednesday with easy wins.
Landon Donovan and Eddie Johnson carried the Americans in emphatic fashion, combining to score five goals in a 6-0 rout of Panama. Mexico got a pair of goals from Jaime Lozano and another from Antonio Naelson to beat Trinidad and Tobago 3-0.
When the two teams met in the World Cup finals two years ago, the United States won 2-0. The Mexicans will get two chances to avenge that loss in the final six-team group, which will send three teams to Germany for the 2006 tournament. A fourth team can qualify by beating an Asian team in a two-leg playoff.
Guatemala also advanced to the final round Wednesday after nipping Honduras 1-0.
In other matches, it was: Jamaica 0, El Salvador 0; St. Kitts and Nevis 0, St. Vincent and the Grenadines 3; and Canada 1, Costa Rica 3.
Only the top two teams in each group advance to the region's final qualifying round.
In Washington, Donovan scored the first two goals, then second-half substitute Johnson got three in a row. It was the first U.S. hat trick in World Cup qualifying since 1968 and only the third ever.
Johnson, in just his second international match, became the first American sub ever to score three times in a game, netting in the 70th, 84th and 87th minutes.
By then, Donovan and his teammates had established U.S. superiority with creative passing and speed.
Panama, which did not stack the defense and play an ultraconservative game, rarely challenged United States goalkeeper Kasey Keller in the first hour. In the 65th minute, though, Panama captain Julio Dely Valdes wasted two good chances.
Valdes broke free on right wing, but never got a shot off before the defense caught up. Then, off a corner kick, his header skimmed off the crossbar.
In Puebla, Mexico, Lozano scored his first goal in the 55th minute, pushing the ball in after a blocked shot, and followed with a second in the 85th off a pass by Luis Ernesto Perez.
Brazilian-born forward Naelson got the first strike for Mexico in the 19th minute off a pass from Salvadoran-born teammate Rodolfo Sibrian.
In Guatemala City, Carlos Ruiz scored the only goal of the match in the 44th minute to help his team beat Honduras.
Ruiz knocked in a loose ball after Honduras goalkeeper Noel Valladares failed to clear a shot by Dwight Pezzarossi.
Guatemala leads Group B with 11 points and can finish no lower than second place. Honduras, which is in third place with six points, must beat Costa Rica in its final match on Nov. 17 to advance to the final six-team group.
In Burnaby, British Columbia, William Sunsin scored the match-winning goal in the 81st minute for Costa Rica.
Paulo Wanchope and Carlos Hernandez also scored for Costa Rica, which is in second place in Group B behind Guatemala.
Dwayne de Rosario scored the lone goal for Canada in the 12th minute to put the hosts in the lead at Swangard Stadium.
In Kingston, Jamaica, the hosts were denied by a series of spectacular saves in the second half by substitute goalkeeper Santos Rivera, who replaced Alvaro Alfaro after the interval.
"The forwards let us down," Jamaica technical director Carl Brown said.
In the 50th minute, Rivera tipped a fierce shot from striker Marlon King over the crossbar. Five minutes later, he denied the same player by holding on to a close-range shot after King was sent clear by fellow striker Damani Ralph.
El Salvador had its best scoring chance in the 11th minute but Erick Prado's long shot was parried by Jamaica goalkeeper Aaron Lawrence.
The draw kept the Reggae Boyz in second place in Group A with six points. El Salvador is last with four points.
In Basseterre, St. Kitts, Kendall Velox scored twice to lead St. Vincent over the hosts at Warner Park.
Velox slotted the ball into the top of the goal from just outside the area in the 19th minute. He then added the third goal in the 85th with a dazzling run, beating two defenders and St. Kitts goalkeeper Kayian Benjamin.
St. Vincent, which controlled most of the match, also got a goal from Shanbel Samuel in the 65th minute.
The win keeps St. Vincent in the hunt for a spot in the final qualifying round with six points from five matches.